I, LIKE so many other women, find myself constantly in the
centre of the whirlwind that is modern living.
My work as a fiduciary and tax
adviser to high net worth individuals is exhilarating, challenging and exciting; it is also time-consuming, frenetic and extremely demanding.
At times, my
life feels like an endless parade of traffic jams, red eye flights, airport
lounge "breakfasts" (it is too early for anything but a cappuccino) and
precious weekends spent in grocery aisles in a bid to quiet the cries of “there
is nothing to eat in this house”.
Gym sessions have become a distant, fond
memory. And date night with hubby is something I can only fantasise about.
keep a pad next to my bed to add to my to-do list when I suffer from 3am
worry-induced insomnia, and I am always keenly aware of the havoc not sleeping
can wreak with my metabolism.
So as it is women’s month, I thought it a great time to
share some of my tips for using technology to help you fit some fun into your
Of course I could have spent time philosophically examining
why we do this to ourselves, but for the purposes of this piece of writing we’ll assume it is "a can’t live with it/can’t live without it" scenario for
all of us working moms.
If these tips help even one woman save money on Botox
and laser treatments for those stress-induced wrinkles, I will have done my job
with this column.
So here, in no particular order, are my top tools for using
technology to help manage modern life better.
- Buy a Kindle, tablet or iPad: read books online, read the news online, make notes in
meetings and email them at once, organise data so you’ll find it easily and
regularly sync it with your computer;
Bluetooth in your car if it does not offer a built-in phone, enabling you to
make calls when you are stuck in traffic;
programmes on your laptop in accordance with your needs and choose ones that
are easy to manage and understand;
- Invest in
high speed internet – no time to wait for pages to load;
- A time
management tool on your computer’s task list can help you avoid spending too
much time on one task;
time in airports by printing your flight boarding pass the day before you fly,
or having it ready on your phone or tablet/iPad when you board;
interior design help, beauty tips or reviews of products from blogs;
- Plan your
holiday or weekend away by reviewing travel blogs;
tweets from industry leaders in your field to keep up to date on topical
apps to track fitness goals and for yoga and gym routines to do at home;
bargains on online shopping sites;
groceries online and have them delivered at home and unpacked in your pantry;
- Use the
caller ID on your cellphone to eliminate having to answer calls you do not want
to take, or having to spend time on answering a cold call;
- Scan hard
copy documents into folders on your computer, and organise the folders in such
a way that you will be able to retrieve documents easily;
- A headset
on your office phone makes it possible to take calls and carry on with other
important tasks at the same time;
- Use emails
effectively for communication with friends and business associates, by dealing
with an email at once. Either save it in a to do list that is categorised, or send
it to your PA to deal with, or reply to it at once;
voicemail on your phone effectively by checking and clearing voice messages
only at certain times during the day;
- Video- or
teleconferencing will reduce flight time, time spent at airports and travelling
to and from airports;
allows you to connect visually with anyone in the world and save time on
save you time by presenting a topic to an audience, with questions and
answers possible, again saving travelling time;
applications are great. Google docs, Google calendar and Google sites (among others) can streamline projects for you from wherever you have an internet
connection. Travel time to the office in peak times or foul weather conditions
can be saved by connecting from home. Storage and search capabilities on Google
can be used to access documents easily and quickly when you need them for the
preparation of papers or for research. Instant messaging can be set up in such
a way so that you are notified of blogs mentioning you or news items breaking;
Facebook and LinkedIn for networking can save the time spent on telephone
networking services can keep track of all your contacts and information about
them that you would like to remember: time is saved by not having to page
through business card holders;
movies from your couch, instead of going out to the movie house or to a dvd
Of course, there is also the risk that technology can take
over your life. But don’t let it. Just
because anyone can reach you anywhere and anytime doesn’t mean they should be
Switch off when you have downtime without feeling guilty about it.
It can prove to be a new experience to have scheduled “off” time.
for yourself with the time you save with technology – all work and no play just
makes for a dull girl.
*Marteen Michau is the head of fiduciary and tax at Sanlam
Private Investments. She is the latest guest columnist taking part in Fin24's
Women's Month campaign celebrating women in business.
Fin24 welcomes your
participation in the campaign. Send your views to firstname.lastname@example.org and you could get